WASHINGTON -- A major gun control group on Monday launched a nationwide petition to Congress -- "The Freedom To Buy Skittles Without Getting Shot" -- aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of "dangerous people" like George Zimmerman, who told police he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in February.
The Brady Campaign petition states that Americans demand basic freedoms in their daily life, including the ability "to go to the store and buy Skittles and an iced tea without getting shot." Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin in what he says was an act of self-defense. Martin was unarmed and carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.
People who sign on to the petition pledge to hold accountable any elected official who "puts guns in the hands of dangerous people -- people like George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin." The petition says Zimmerman had an arrest record and a history of violence, yet was still allowed to carry a concealed and loaded gun.
"That is the gun lobby's vision of America. It is not mine," reads the petition. "I will hold accountable any elected official that puts the extremist, political agenda of the gun lobby ahead of the safety and lives of the people they have been elected to represent."
As of 3:40 on Monday afternoon, the petition had collected 1,550 signatures.
So far, Congress has not introduced any legislation or had any formal hearings on Stand Your Ground laws, which are in more than two dozen states and allow residents who feel threatened to use lethal force against an attacker. Zimmerman has avoided arrest in part because of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, where he shot Martin. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus introduced a resolution last week calling for the repeal of all Stand Your Ground laws, but their proposal is non-binding and purely for symbolic reasons.
Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Justice Department to investigate "the general application" of Stand Your Ground laws and whether they actually increase rather than decrease violence.